Fifteenth International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment

pcr.jpg22 - 24 June, 2009
Bologna, Italy

 Oveview & Opening Address

eres09.jpgThe 15th International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment was recently held in Bologna, organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology, represented by Professor Carlos Brebbia, Director of WIT and Chairman of the meeting.

The continuous success of this annual event reflects the importance of the topic which attracts international delegates from many different countries.  The development of more efficient and environmentally friendly transportation systems is essential in the quest for city sustainability.  The complexity of the problem, which involves a series of socio-economic as well as technical issues, requires a substantial amount of research.  New ideas need to be thoroughly tested and critically evaluated before they can be implemented in practice, which highlights the importance of the Urban Transport Conference.

The Conferences started in Southampton in 1995; continuing in Barcelona (1996); Acquasparta, Italy (1997); Lisbon (1998); Rhodes (1999); Cambridge, UK (2000); Lemnos, Greece (2001); Seville (2002); Crete (2003); Dresden (2004); Algarve (2005); WIT Campus in the New Forest (2006); Coimbra (2007) and Malta (2008).  The importance of these meetings is reflected in the papers published in the corresponding volumes of the Transactions of Wessex Institute; which are archived in our eLibrary at, where they are permanently and easily accessible to the international community.

Professor Carlos Brebbia explained during his opening remarks that this policy of producing digital material has been extended to cover distribution of the whole conference book as well as other publications.  WIT Press has now set up a network of eDistribution that covers the whole world to respond to this demand, which is expected to substantially increase the dissemination of WIT papers within the international scientific and technical community.

Carlos also referred to the Journals controlled by WIT and in particular to the one on Sustainable Development and Planning which welcomes new papers in the field of transportation.  The policy of the Institute’s publishing arm is to increase the number of their Journals in a harmonised manner, trying to cover new fields and those related to WIT conferences.

Finally, Carlos discussed the type of work carried out by WIT from its New Forest Campus and the aim of the Institute to provide a mechanism for the transfer of knowledge among many different disciplines.

 Conference Sessions

urban_pcr2.jpgThe Conference covered the following topics:
  • Urban transport, planning and management
  • Transportation demand analysis
  • Intelligent transport systems
  • Land use and transport integration
  • Air and noise pollution
  • Environmental and ecological aspects
  • Traffic integration and control
  • Transport modelling and simulation
  • Safety and security
  • Public transport systems

 Keynote Addresses

urban_pcr.jpgAt the beginning of the Conference, Dr Alessandro Zanasi, an expert on security, gave a talk on “Urban Transport Security, the European Commission Funding Programmes”  Alessandro has worked extensively in Data Mining and is author of a well known book on Text Mining (“Text Mining and its Applications to Intelligence, CRM and Knowledge Management” WIT Press, 2005, ISBN: 978-1-85312-995-7).

He is currently teaching at Bologna University and is working as an Advisor for governments in Europe and the Middle East.  He is a member of ESRIF  (European Security Research and Innovation Forum) headed by the former Minister of Interior in Slovenia.  The EU, Alessandro explained, is interested in protecting the population and ensuring that Europe remains competitive in the growing security field.  The programme includes protection of Urban Transport to protect the critical infrastructure that can be damaged, destroyed or disrupted either by terrorist action or natural disasters.  Currently the EU is preparing calls on the topic of Urban Transport, with a specific programme on “Security of Mass (ie Urban) Transportation”.  This includes metros, trams, city buses, international routes and ‘neuralgic’ nodes, intercity systems, IT and communications and all related infrastructure.

Alessandro also referred to his own EU project in the field of Transport Hub Intelligent Video System.  This project involves the analysis of video images to determine suspicious or strange behaviour.  It involves the development of smart video systems.

Other interesting keynote addresses were the following:
  • “Visibility, perception and roundabout safety” by A. Pratelli, University of Pisa, Italy
  • “Evaluation of polymer modified asphalts containing warm mix additives in rheology” by S.W. Amirkhanian, Clemson University, USA

 Social Events

urban_pcr3.jpgDuring the conference, the delegates had ample opportunity for interaction, not only during the lively discussions, but also at coffee breaks and the lunches which were offered by the organisers.

The Conference dinner took place in a typical Trattoria renowned for the standards of its cuisine.  Bologna is known throughout the world for the excellence of its food and the delegates were able to taste some of the local dishes.  Participants were given a print of ancient Bologna as a souvenir at the end of the meal.

At the end of the Conference, Carlos announced the death of Tom Maze two weeks earlier at the age of 57.  Tom was a researcher and Professor Civil Engineering at Iowa State University, Ames, USA.  There he founded the Centre for Transportation Research and Education, of which he was the first Director.  His main fields of interest were traffic control, road safety and freight transport.  Tom attended the Urban Transport Conferences, presenting the results of his research work, and was to present a paper at this Conference, which is included in the book.  Carlos asked for a minute’s silence in memory of Tom.

 Next Conference

The next conference in the series will take place from 5 to 7 May 2010 in Cyprus.  For further information, please contact Claire Shiell (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

 Publication of Papers

urban_book.jpgThe proceedings of Urban Transport XV: Urban Transport and the Environment, 672pp (Print ISBN: 1-84564-190-0; On-line ISBN: 1-84564-367-6; Print ISSN: 1746-4498) are available from WIT Press priced at £255/US$459/€332.  Orders can be placed by telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223, fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via the WIT Press web site at

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 107 of WIT Transactions on The Built Environment (On-line ISSN: 1743-3509). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at